Marathon racers around the world are probably experiencing a lull in their chosen discipline at the moment. This trough of reduced races doesn’t necessarily mean there is nothing going on. Dependant on their locale, the keen and competitive marathon and stage race mountain bikers of the world will be busy. This time of year may bring either oppressive heat or debilitating cold. Adaptation is key!
In Australia and New Zealand, top marathon competitors will often be racing the National Cross Country Series. Despite the hiatus on racing through the peak of summer, the training will be maintained. The big marathons traditionally kick off at the end of summer, with the Otway Odyssey in Victoria. However the postponed Felt Alpine Asault now falls on January 16. Time will tell if this works out for Australian races. Can we race in a Victorian summer?
Travelling across the Pacific, we may find ourselves in California. Although the coast has agreeable weather, the racing schedule is somewhat reduced. Cyclo-cross season has pretty much finished up stateside, and time may be spent on the road bikes and mountain bikes – getting the miles in.
Further inland, into the Rocky Mountains, the activities may change again. Up high, cross country skiiing can prove popular for those with huge engines. But options abound, and Moab always beckons with it’s desert climate able to offer respite from winter snow. Every region will be different – and each group of racers and riders will have something that keeps them in shape.
Europe is experiencing a harsh winter. Options are limited for those who cannot justify flights to Majorca, Southern Spain, Cyprus or even South Africa to escape the cold. Turbo trainers are a common theme. Josh Keep, an Australian marathon racer based in Sheffield, England, enjoys the unique challenge that the weather presents.
“Running is a great core work out. With all the ice underneath the snow, you have to stabilise the whole time with your core, otherwise you bin it!” he told me this week.
From my perspective, a cyclist who runs is a very motivated cyclist, willing to adapt to their current surroundings.
Or, like my ABSA Cape Epic team mate “Wattage” Will Hayter does – just ride anyway. It’s just snow and ice, otherwise the trails are just the same as before – right?
So there are so many options out there at the moment. If you’re up north you can Run, ride, ski or go the the gym. Down south, race cross-country and enduros! Have a laugh with mates and improve your skills on race courses that usually present more technical challenges. Or go ‘Euro’ and declare that this is really your off-season. Go to ground. Get strong. Hit the gym. Find a coach. Make next year count. Like you were going to this year – but properly this time!
But time is running out. 2011 is around the corner. Use our calender to prepare your 2011 racing schedule. More events are being added weekly. So once you have adapted to this time of year, plan a storming 2011.